Fianna Fáil Press Office
Deputy Robert Troy
Spokesperson on Children
2 November 2015
Reilly has mismanaged the child protection system – Troy
Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Children, Deputy Robert Troy, has strongly criticised Minister for Children, James Reilly for his mismanagement and poor custodianship of the child protection system. Speaking today after the Ombudsman for Children, Dr. Niall Muldoon revealed serious deficits in protection and care system for children in the State.
Deputy Troy said: “The revelations by Dr. Muldoon that the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) managed to deal with just one-fifth of all reports of child abuse in a timely manner last year is as shocking as it is frightening. By any measure, this is really and truly a gross systems failure on behalf of both the Minister and Tusla management.
“Tusla was set up with the purpose of strengthening the child protection system that existed under the HSE, with the edict that the organs of State can never again react passively when a charge of child abuse is made. It is beyond belief that, given the State’s atrocious record in affording protection to all children, that Tusla is failing in such a massive way to immediately investigate child abuse claims.
“The new agency’s failure to protect vulnerable young people is widespread across their service remit, with the Ombudsman also making the appalling disclosure that children with mental health issues are still being accommodated in adult psychiatric wards. Dr. Muldoon found that many children in such a distressful situation are simply being put on suicide watch, and not being given the care, compassion and specialist treatment they require, due to bed shortages.
“Minister Reilly can no longer absolve himself of such systematic negligence and lack of care in child protection services.
“The Minister has drastically underfunded Tusla since its formation. Last year, Tusla was at least €18 million short of meeting day to day expenditures for the provision of social worker services alone.
“While the Minister congratulates himself in public on attaining a budget increase for Tusla in 2016, this small increase is required for services just to stand still and will not be enough to repair the yawning gaps in child protection safeguards and child mental health services that have been wrought by years of maladministration and mishandling by this government,” concluded Deputy Troy.